Academic Hospitalist Positions: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become an academic hospitalist. Learn about the education and training, job outlook, and salary to decide if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Academic Hospitalist?

Academic hospitalists are trained doctors who specialize in the area of hospital medicine and focus their work on performing research in the field and teaching medical students. They may conduct research in a variety of hospital-related areas, such as how to prevent hospital-acquired diseases, how to improve communication between hospital workers, and how to standardize the discharge process. Their teaching responsibilities could include giving lectures in their area of expertise, leading hands-on training exercises or serving as research mentors for future academic hospitalists.

See the following chart to understand more about this field.

Degree Required Doctoral
Training Required Residency, post-doctoral training
Licensure/Certification Must earn licensure by state
Key Skills Teaching medical procedures, developing curricula, medical research
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% (all physicians and surgeons)*
Median Annual Wage (2015) Over $187,200 (hospitalists)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET Online

What Do Academic Hospitalists Do?

Hospitalized patients have specific issues and needs. As an academic hospitalist, you might work for an academic institution or hospital to teach medical students and residents how to meet those needs. You also could help develop portions of medical school curricula. Research is another area of focus for academic hospitalists. As a researcher, you would conduct original studies and publish papers and/or articles on the results.

What Education and Other Training Do I Need?

To become a hospitalist, you must complete medical school and earn state licensure as either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). According to the Society of Hospital Medicine, common areas of residency training for future hospitalists include internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics (www.hospitalmedicine.org). After your residency, you can undergo additional training that focuses on areas specific to hospital medicine, such as hospital processes, collaboration with other physicians and the transition of patients to post-hospital care. Training in emergency medicine, palliative care and hospice care also would be relevant.

As an academic hospitalist, you'll also need training in research and teaching techniques. It's important to understand business aspects of healthcare and to develop mentorship skills since the hospital portion of training and education of future physicians, once carried out primarily by attending physicians, is now more frequently in the hands of hospitalists. Continuing education through classes and conferences could help further your career.

How Much Might I Earn?

According to O*NET OnLine, the median annual salary for hospitalists was greater than $187,200 in 2015, which equates to more than $90 per hour. Statistics for only academic hospitalists were not listed.

The job outlook for hospitalists is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), physicians are in high demand due to the increased population growth, the older generation needing care, and patients desiring the most current technological procedures. Some medical schools are expecting an even higher demand for physicians in the future. Consequently, they are opening their doors to more students in anticipation of the growth.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a hospitalist, rather than focusing your work on academic research and teaching, you could choose to practice in the field. Alternatively, after becoming a doctor, you could choose a residency in a more specialized area of medicine, such as anesthesiology or pediatric surgery, and practice or conduct research in that field. A third option is to become a college or university professor in a medicine-related topic, like biochemistry or biomedical engineering. This job would involve research and teaching in basic and/or applied science; you would need to get a Ph.D. in your area of interest.

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